Mr Cameron’s speech

 

I send my condolences to the families of the hostages that have been killed in Algeria. We all live in hope that more people have survived this ordeal. Understandably the Prime Minister had to delay his speech.

I expected  Mr Cameron today to confirm that he wants the UK to negotiate a new relationship with the rest of the EU. He accepts that the UK cannot join the currency, fiscal, banking and political union the Euro countries are now pressing on with. He recognises the UK wants something much less than this full integration. We want to trade with them and be friends with them, not to be governed by them.

I expected him also to say that the British people have to be asked their view in a referendum. Many voters have never been asked their view, some others who were regret their decision to vote “Yes”, as they think the common market they bought was a misdescription of what has evolved.

The President of the USA had made another clumsy intervention in the debate in a way designed to annoy many UK voters. The UK has no wish to be America’s poodle chained to the EU kennel wall.

There will remain important  issues over when and how he will renegotiate, and when and how the British people get a vote. Send in your views in place of the speech.

What is extraordinary is the Labour and Lib Dem parties both rule out a renegotiation, and rule out a referendum. They say we must stay in at all costs, accept the current balance of powers, and avoid mentioning the fact that many UK people are not happy with our current membership. It is so unsual for two major parties to wish to be so cut off from maintsream public opinion on such a crucial issue. I suspect most of the country is united in thinking we need a new relationship, and in agreeing we cannot join the politcal union they are making.

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181 Comments

  1. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    I hadn’t read about a new American intervention, but I did read that Cameron would point as the major EU challenges:
    the eurozone crisis,
    competitiveness in a global environment and
    public support.
    All acceptable and true. But I would add a domestic challenge for Britain if I may. That is for British themselves to start countering some of the decades of nonsense and half truths spread in UK media.
    It is just too easy to misrepresent the facts and leave out the nuances. I’ll show you here that even Van Rompuy is much more of an elected official than Cameron, the math is really simple:
    Both were elected as leader of their party so no difference there. Van Rompuy was elected by 26 heads of democratic governments to preside over their meetings and represent them in EU affairs internationally. Cameron was only appointed to be prime-minister by his queen. Yes, but wasn’t he elected in national elections first??? No, not really, let’s see: How many people got even a chance to vote for Cameron? Well, only less than 0.2% of the British electorate, some conservatives in the – foregone conclusion – utterly safe seat of Witney. By contrast, 100% of the Belgians had the chance of voting for Herman van Rompuy, which even in absolute terms is millions more than Cameron. For the function that mattered Van Rompuy was actually elected (by 26 heads of 26 democracies), Cameron only became prime-minister by default, because he happened to lead the largest party.
    I realise this example also contains skewed reasoning. My point is that the British deserve it to get better, unbiased information about the EU than they’ve had for a long time.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Peter,
      You really must do better than this. Van Rompuy was appointed Prime Minister of Belgium by King Albert on 30 December 2008 after the previous Leterme government fell on 22 December that year. He remained in that office only until 15 November 2009 – less than 1 year- before he was appointed President of the EU by the leaders of the member states commencing on 1 December 2009. If this is your idea of ‘better, unbiased information about the EU’ then please keep it to yourself.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        @Brian Tomkinson: I was giving it as an example of slightly skewed reasoning, I believe I wrote that as well. But thank you for the extra information.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      Clearly our national democratic system is seriously defective, not for any specious reasons you may offer but because otherwise we would not now be in the EU and subject to a treaty which the present Foreign Secretary repeatedly warned would lack democratic legitimacy in this country if it hadn’t been directly approved by the people through a referendum, and in that case “we would not let matters rest there”.

      Eg, Hague speaking in the Commons on November 12th 2007, at Column 423 here:

      http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm071112/debtext/71112-0008.htm

      “Let me say to the right hon. Gentleman that the best time for a referendum is now, so that the British people can have their promised say. If we did not succeed in forcing a referendum in this House, if we failed to win in another place, if all other EU member states implemented the treaty and if an election were held later in this Parliament – that is a lot of ifs – we would have a new treaty in force that lacked democratic legitimacy in this country and in our view gave the EU too much power over our national policies. That would not be acceptable to a Conservative Government and we would not let matters rest there; the right hon. Gentleman can be assured of that.”

      Which “we would not let matters rest there” assurance was repeated in the Tory manifesto for the EU Parliament elections in June 2009; so I don’t know how any Tory MEP could in good conscience accept Cameron’s total abandonment of that pledge just five months later on November 4th 2009.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper: I read a comment from Kenneth Clarke, a bit like this: “when you’re doomed in parliament, start demanding a referendum!” It is a different matter when government and/or opposition parties promise a referendum. I believe that the only referendum that Cameron could have one would have been a speedy in/out referendum. If (if!) there will be a post-2015 referendum, chances for the “leave the EU” supporters like yourself will, in my view, be very good. Maybe one could start thinking about an EEA-plus arrangement specially for the UK? No lady Upholland, MEP or Cameron – but coopoeration on an EU-UK level, for matters of common interest?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 7:02 am | Permalink

          The frightening thing is that Kenneth Clarke came close to taking over the Tory party in both 1997 and 2001.

          • Edward
            Posted January 21, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

            I agree Dennis,
            Ken is a nice chap, but I think he would have been very much happier in either of the two other main parties.

    • oldtimer
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      You seem to have an incomplete understanding of how the UK parliamentary system works. The Queen does not “appoint” Prime Ministers in the way you imply. She invites the leader of the largest parliamentary party to form a government. That leader only leads after (s)he has been elected by his/her party – the Queen has no role in that process.

      An even more crucial difference is that a Prime Mintser and his party can be booted out of office at a general election or if the PM loses a vote of confidence in the House of Commons. That option is not available to the UK electorate so far as EU office holders are concerned. As the UK electorate comes to realise that more and more areas of public policy are beyond their scrutiny and ability to change, so more and more they will become disatisfied with the EU.

      Central to everything is this democratic deficit. The British have a long, long history of taking the over-mighty down a peg, from King John and Magna Carta onwards. I remain to be convinced that they have changed that much over the centuries.

      • uanime5
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        Actually the UK’s political representatives can remove EU office holders if they have the support of other European countries. As the UK electorate influences these political representatives they can influence whether the EU office holders remain in power.

        Also the over-mighty have often remained in power, such as the Peasants’ Revolt in 1381 which was defeated by Richard II.

        • Tom William
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

          Just which “political representatives” do you mean? And what “EU office holders”?

          The President of the Commission can dismiss individuals and two thirds of the EU Parliament can dismiss the whole Commission, but not individuals.

          The Council of ministers can not do this. So please explain what you mean – precisely.

          • uanime5
            Posted January 19, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

            I was referring to removing commissioners if the UK has the support of other European countries (either by petitioning the president or via the EU Parliament).

            Though the UK’s members of the European Council (MPs) can be removed if there’s sufficient political pressure in the UK and people in the UK can also remove MEPs by not voting for their political party.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        @oldtimer: Thank you for the information. I would agree that democratic procedures in the EU (as an internationa treaty organisation with some democratic procedures) should be much improved. I just have some confidence that over time this may happen. It won’t go fast though and may be lagging behind.

        • APL
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 12:58 am | Permalink

          Peter van Leeuwen: “I just have some confidence that over time this may happen. ”

          How long Peter, forty years? That is how long it has taken to go from democratic nation states to, in your words an “organisation with some democratic procedures”.

          Now I don’t know about you, but that seems like several backward steps – in so far as democratic process is concerned.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted January 19, 2013 at 9:43 am | Permalink

            @APL: I’m inclined to say 10 years. It is the 4th “pillar” in the Van Rompuy roadmap to solve the financial crisis and has sofar received least attention by the 27 heads of government. But ideas have been around for years, and popular pressure will build up soon: there is enormous surge in interest for what other EU countries (specially EZ countries) are doing, because it may affect us in the Netherlands. National poilitics have become europeanised so to say. That will lead to pressure and proposals, whether it will be more involvemnent and meetings of national parliaments, changes in the electoral system or other proposals. Shall we check in 10 years time how we have progressed?

          • uanime5
            Posted January 19, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

            APL do you have any specific areas you want improved or are you just trolling?

          • APL
            Posted January 20, 2013 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

            Peter van Lueewen: “I’m inclined to say 10 years.”

            So, you are satisfied that we continue with the charade* that is democracy in the European Union for another ten years?

            For the record at the end of that period that would be fifty years trending toward less democracy – do you really think that in ten years time, the machine that is the EU will about face and introduce real tangible democracy?

            If so, why wait ten years, why can’t we have it now?

    • forthurst
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Peter van Leeuwen:

      Mr Van Rompuy may have been elected as PM by his Belgian constituents in a process more democratic than that which gave us Cameron. That contention is highly probable, but irrelevent. The issue is the mechanism by which Mr van Rompuy became ruler of Europe. The system of election used is one in which the leaders of the main EU states, alternately blackball each others’ contenders, and then mutually agree on someone else of whom no one has ever heard, who is then rubber stamped by the other states.

      • uanime5
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        How is a former prime minister of Belgium someone who no one has ever heard of? He probably met most of the leaders of the EU before becoming president of the commission.

        • APL
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

          uanime5: “How is a former prime minister of Belgium someone who no one has ever heard of”

          Dear fellow, by virtue of being the prime minister of Belgium, of course.

          • lifelogic
            Posted January 19, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

            Indeed I though they just had Tin Tin and Poirot do they have others people there?

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        @forthurst: I don’t think that I can completely agree, for instance, the titel in Dutch (“permanent chairman” i.e. instead of half-yearly one) describes the function much better than the ambiguous “president”. He is not much more than a consensus builder between 27 (or 17) countries, in which large countries may have a stronger voice but smaller countries still count. That is why the earlier impression, created in British tabloids that a president was needed, for whom all traffic would be halted, was such a nonsense image, illustrating that the British may not comprehend how the EU really works. You will see the same with the to be chosen new eurogroup chief. If that will be the Dutchman Dijsselbloem, that is typically a consensus builder or compromise seeker, not a “leader” with some inflated ego.

    • Posted January 19, 2013 at 12:03 am | Permalink

      This must be a ruse by Peter. Is he UKIP? Only an utter joker would try to deflect anti-euro sentiment by appeal to the “democratic” (life-long bureaucrats electing a master) credentials of the Belgian Pretender. Cast Iron may be complicit in open conspiracy to undermine conservative beliefs & convictions; but he is still a by-product of one of God’s Free Countries. Despite his betrayal of that system & ethos.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 19, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        @Christopher Ekstrom:
        Dear Christopher, “life long” really is more a feature of UK politics! Don’t get confused here.
        I.e. your longest serving MP (father of the house) has been there for over 50 years, comparing that with 14 years for a Dutch “people representative”(MP). It is your H.o.lords that has lifelong heredatory legislators, the Dutch equivalent is elected (indirect elections) every 4 years. EU commissioners, with exceptions, only serve 5 years. Lastly, 26 heads of government electing their chairman aren’t life long bureaucrats, neither are 10 million Belgians being able to directly cast a vote for Van Rompuy, compared with the carnivalesc winner takes all surrogate played out in 650 local constituencies. Don’t lecture the continent on democracy, try mending the UK democratic deficit instead, it will keep you busy enough. Can you really not see that this “traitor” talk about your government is a typical British by-product of the British democratic imperfections?

        Reply: The average MP is an MP for 10 years. There is regular and substantial change at elections – in 2010 150 new Conservative MPs were elected for the first time for example. At least in the UK governments regularly change as a result of General Elections.

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted January 20, 2013 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

          Thank you for the information, that gives a far more reasonable picture for the UK, considering that elections happen only once in 5 years.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 19, 2013 at 12:18 am | Permalink

      @PvL

      Peter, you mention that Herman van Rompuy was elected by 26 heads of state.

      How many other candidates for the Presidency were there in that election ?

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 19, 2013 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        @Mark B: There were at least two, Jan-Peter Balkenende (Dutch prime-minister at the time) was one. Even being patriotic (I wear an orange T-shirt at footbal matches) I didn’t mind Balkenende losing. Just imagine, he was largely responsible for the 2005 defeat in the referendum, running a government campaign with the slogan: “Europe, sort of important” (Europa, best belangrijk). The fact that many of the “no” votes were in fact anti-balkenende votes was of course lost in the reporting afterwards. Nowadays his party conceeds that he ran quite a stupid campaign at the time, sending every household a document the size of a telephone guide.

      • APL
        Posted January 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        Mark B: “How many other candidates for the Presidency were there in that election ?”

        And the constituency are the 26 not the millions they appear to represent.

        • uanime5
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

          The 26 were elected by the millions of people to represent them. That’s how democracy works.

        • sjb
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

          Van Rompuy is not President of the EU; his duties relate to the European Council thus his electorate consist of the heads of state or govt of the 27 member states.

          The President of the European Commission, however, I think should be elected by EU citizens particularly as we are now taking another step on the path to “ever closer union”. But I suspect the national govts may resist such a move.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted January 20, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

            @sjb: There are proposals a bit like you suggest. It potentially could make the huge distance between 500 million people and the EC a little shorter. Alternatively (and less risky ?) would be to have the MEPs elect a EC president from a number of candidates campaigning for this function. Even in America, the president election is an indirect election.

  2. Brian Taylor
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    As stated in this comment piece before,yes I do regret voting to stay in,as we were misled in 1975.
    But after watching Quetion Time last night we have the same problem now,the Quetion was (should we be more like Swiss and the Norwegian’s) apart from Nigel Farage all the others on the panel had NO grasp of the position,and kept banging on about no say in the EU,nor did I get the impression that the audience was any better informed.
    Please take every chance to put the record straight,and talk about all the world bodies that that help to make the rules that are then adopted by the EU.
    Norway as reported play a leading role in the fisheries rules that are taken up world wide.
    Also who out of all those saying we want a new relationship stae the we do not want to trade with the EU it is what I voted for in 1975 but it is twisted by those who want things to stay as they are.
    The Prime Minister must be very clear that Article 50 will be used to get what the UK want otherwise I will vote UKIP in the EU elections and again in 2015 because who else will I have to vote for that will give me back control of my country?
    All these weasel word’s are not good enough!

    • zorro
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      I mentioned this on yesterday’s post. QT was dire, the usual pathetic arguments….’We don’t know about the benefits or disadvantages’…….You have the internet and books available….read them….inform yourselves……These are the tactics which the government relies on – voter apathy – fear of the unknown – the US wants us to stay in…..

      zorro

    • uanime5
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      The International bodies create the minimum standards, the EU creates far higher standards.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        Higher, not in general, just more complex expensive and time consuming.

      • Disaffected
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        Utter rubbish. They create bureaucratic garbage at high cost to the British taxpayer. They decimate our agriculture and farmers are going out of business every day while the taxpayer is helping the eastern European dead beats farms and the french. it is perverse to carry on. Out the EU and stop the socialist drivel that you and the rest rant on about.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

          I wonder if rich Tory farmers would agree with you? They do very well out of the EU. Often for doing nothing.

          • lifelogic
            Posted January 19, 2013 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

            Exactly that is the problem!

          • APL
            Posted January 20, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

            Bazman: “Often for doing nothing.”

            ‘Set aside’?

            Only a command economic model would come up with a scheme such as ‘set aside’, taking perfectly good agricultural land out of production to address the problem caused by the food subsidies distorting production in the first place.

            The consumer looses twice on the subsidies – which don’t actually make food cheaper – it’s just the cost is hidden. And then more expensive again by paying farmers to remove productive capacity.

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

          Indeed.

        • uanime5
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

          So you accept that Norway does not have influence over these rules and that the EU can make far more stringent rules than Norway wants. If so then don’t expect the UK to have more control over EU law by joining the EEA.

          Also EFTA countries aren’t in the CAP.

          • APL
            Posted January 20, 2013 at 10:33 am | Permalink

            uanime5: “So you accept that Norway does not have influence over these rules ..”

            No.

            uanime5: ” .. and that the EU can make far more stringent rules than Norway wants.”

            Yes, and thereby making it’s internal industry uncompetitive with Norway and the rest of the world that only need to comply with the Norwegian instigated leglislation.

  3. Mike Stallard
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    “We want to trade with them and be friends with them, not to be governed by them.”

    This must be right.
    The question is how to get there.
    If we remain in the single market we get showered with thousands of bossy and quite often wrong decisions (fisheries, CAP, increased contributions) by unelected, unaccountable officials. That has to change.
    The bosses of the EU are certainly not going to renegotiate. They are saying so time and time again. And quite a lot of them actually despise us too (Guy Verhofstadt for one). They want, in their own words, ” More Europe”. We just aren’t listening.
    Japan and USA and China are not yet in the EU. They trade with Europe quite a lot I understand.

  4. colliemum
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Mr Cameron was in a bad place yesterday, knowing that whatever the decision (go to Amsterdam/don’t go), he’d get attacked.
    However, some of it is of his own making: he should not have caved in to the French/German demand not to speak on the jubilee date of their Elysee Treaty.
    I think he should have given this speech in the House of Parliament in the first place, and perhaps he can be persuaded to do so.

    It is not so much about what we, the people, ‘want’ to hear – we’ve heard nice talk seemingly forever. What is needed are fixed dates, a real line in the sand. we need the pistol put to the head of the EU (sorry): referendum here on the date of the GE in 2015, and if there are no re-negotiation results by then on which we, the people can agree, then the government will evoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and thus our exit.
    Also – I think the Whitehall Mandarins should be told that feet dragging by them will not be countenanced. One wonders how we ever coped during WWII when the administration of our whole economy was on war footing, and they had to deal with destruction of hosues, industries etc.
    So – no more excuses, Cameron should give the speech in Parliament, and everybody should get on with it.
    As a German poet said: “Enough with the speeches we’ve heard so far – let us finally see deeds!”

  5. Steve Cox
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    At heart I rather suspect that Mr. Cameron feels very much the same as the leaders of the other two main parties, and just as he said that he did not become Prime Minister to preside over the dissolution of the United Kingdom, I am sure that he did not become Prime Minister just to watch the country leave the EU. Mr Cameron is a Europhile at heart no matter what he was going to say in his speech. I expected it to be an anticlimax anyway, with lots of platitudes to the Eurosceptics in his party but no possibility of any real change before the next election. That would enable him to silence most of his critics on the issue while kicking the can further down the street. And anyway it currently looks likely that Labour will form the next government, so whatever he says or promises will not be binding on them. The speech was just going to be yet more Euro smoke & mirrors.

  6. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    That labour and lib dems feel they can state there will be no renegotiation is most worrying.

    Political parties (and Ed Milliband in particular) are talented bandwaggon riders and that this particular waggon is not rolling suggests a real malaise on the issue from the majority of the electorate.

    When our living costs and taxation levels are so heavily influenced by our membership of this fifedom (CAP membership fees, regulation, bureaucracy costs, unfettered immigration pushing up housing and pushing down wages[ for the advantage of shareholders not prices]) it is a tragedy that this issue does not feature more heavily on more of the population’s concerns.

  7. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Ok .. being ordinary punters and not directly involved with politics many will say ‘what is in it for them’ or what have the 2 parties agreed to either implicitly or otherwise that the UK people do not understand?
    My nation state has failed me, by regarding me professionally as a lesser person than those who have not contributed anything and by refusing to allow me superanuation, our nations pension, by not regarding my degrees and autonomus status as valuable, by not allowing me justice when crimes have been committed against me.
    I could say that I blame this on Europe and I partially do , however it is the focus by the british multiethnic population which has also partially brought this about , as they themselves do not regard this as the homeland we built and are happy to go along with the money that is in it for them.
    The UK brits have been happy with the state of affairs when it suits them, as those few who have been able to stay in power and get large salaries, make working hours, for us as slaves who provide intellectual , skilled ,and qualified input for less than those on benefits manoeuvered into pt / hours everywhere and exhausted with the ongoing plagiarism .
    Is it Europe or those using Europe as a lever and excuse for their own appauling behaviour? If our Brits can do this to their own , I can’t see the problem improving with full integration into europe.

  8. lifelogic
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    I too send my condolences to the families of the hostages that have been murdered or injured by the terrorists in Algeria in this tragic and futile action.

    I cannot, however, see that it is appropriate for him to cancel his long delayed EU speech. Perhaps he could at least release the text – as he has finished it – he claimed. Others could chair the cobra meeting, perhaps rather better away from too much publicity, spin and high profile names.

    • zorro
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      I agree with your sentiments entirely. I wonder who has funded these terrorists in North Africa?

      zorro

      • zorro
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        Is there a repeating pattern somewhere here….?

        zorro

      • Bazman
        Posted January 19, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        Saudi Arabia probably. No danger of any revolutions there.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 19, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps nearly half a million people die every single day worldwide, just to put this, admittedly appalling, event into some context.

  9. Bob
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    “others regret their decision to vote “Yes”, as they think the common market they bought was a misdescription of what has evolved.”

    It was a misdescription of what the politicians knew to be the case at the time. I remember clearly, and it was repeated over and over that it was a trade agreement and had nothing to do with political union.

    One has to wonder why Ted Heath was so keen to take us in, and why Ken Clark is so keen for us to remain in. Were they subjected to outside pressure of some sort?

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      It is hard to say what motivates Ken Clark, Heseltine, Major, Patten and the likes. They never bother to make any rational arguments as to why they want to stay in. They just endlessly say it would be damaging to come out – and the usual seat at the table and 50% of our trade. All clearly bogus non arguments.

      • APL
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        lifelogic: “and the usual seat at the table and 50% of our trade. ”

        Don’t forget how we are all going to be left at the station, or stuck in the slow lane of a ‘two speed’ Europe – meaning of course European Union.

        Lots more drivel where that all came from.

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

          Indeed especially on the BBC – where every question if framed from the assumption that the EU is good (and that catastrophic AGW is a proven fact – despite what the thermometers are saying).

          • APL
            Posted January 20, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

            Lifelogic: “(and that catastrophic AGW is a proven fact – despite what the thermometers are saying).”

            Snow falling vertically this last couple of days here.

            Windmills useless as there is no wind, at the coldest time when demand for electricity is at its highest.

            Third year running I have been taking note of this and the pattern is consistent and depressing.

      • Posted January 19, 2013 at 4:51 am | Permalink

        It’s a conspriacy of dunces: these individuals turned their backs on England. In better days they would already be called out.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      And primarily a trade agreement which would help British companies to export to the continent, ignoring the reality that it would work both ways.

    • Jon Burgess
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Some allege that Ted Heath was under the influence of German intelligence.

      • APL
        Posted January 20, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        Jon Burgess: “Some allege that Ted Heath was under the influence of German intelligence.”

        Well he certainly wasn’t under the influence of his own intelligence.

    • zorro
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Outside pressure?……I wonder who could have influenced Ted Heath to take us into the EU?

      zorro

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 19, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        Any one who can “think” like this:-

        Prime Minister Edward Heath told MPs the government had decided to bring in laws enforcing price and pay controls. In the period before legislation was passed there would be a freeze, effective immediately, on prices, wages, dividends and rents, Mr Heath said. The freeze applies to prices and charges for goods and services provided by both the private and public sector.

        Is clearly suffering from a total lack of logic and understanding of the world and could perhaps believe/think almost anything. I assume Cameron is following this line of insanity – he seems to be heading that way.

  10. davidb
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    It is extremely important that the people are asked to vote on any outcome. Future administrations seem less inclined to ride rough shod over decisions taken by referendum.

  11. Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    What do you mean by, “I send my condolences to the families of the hostages…”? Have you sent them condolences or not? I’m guessing not, since we do not know their identities yet. Are you expecting these families to search the ‘net and seek out condolences? These words seem meaningless to me; typical politician-speak, but unworthy of you.

    • forthurst
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps “offer” rather than “send” might be more of JR’s meaning, but on the whole he has not advocated on this site courses of action which would put British lives at risk or involve us in entanglements whose outcome would be unpredicatable, unless there would have been a very clear national interest involved. As such he has demonstrated more concern over the loss or potential loss of British lives than many leading politicians.

  12. TGod
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    I was old enough to vote in 1975 when I voted in the referendum to exit the common market. On that occasion a large amount of taxpayers money was spent on government propaganda which successfully turned the majority opinion around to vote to stay in the common market.

    If we have another referendum it will just be the same again – an enormous amount of our money would be spent to frighten the majority into voting to stay in the EU.
    All of the major parties would do this, in truth a referendum is pointless.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Given how the Government was split on this issue large amounts of money was spent on propaganda for both sides.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        As I recall off the cuff the ratio of expenditure was about 10:1 in favour in the “yes” campaign. But as I don’t have time to check that just now I have to say that I may be wrong, and maybe it was only 5:1.

      • Tom William
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        This gives a false impression. The funding was grossly unbalanced. You can check that but, as a quick source, this is what Wkipedia say:

        “The “Yes” campaign enjoyed much more funding, thanks to the support of many British businesses and the Confederation of British Industry. According to the treasurer of the “Yes” campaign, Alastair McAlpine, “The banks and big industrial companies put in very large sums of money”. At the time, business was “overwhelmingly pro-European”,[12] and Harold Wilson met several prominent industrialists to elicit support. It was common for pro-Europeans to convene across party and ideological lines with businessmen.[12] John Mills, the national agent of the “No” campaign recalled “We were operating on a shoe-string compared to the Rolls Royce operation on the other side,”.

        • uanime5
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

          It seems that the pro-EU campaign received large amounts of money from the private sector, rather than the taxpayer. So TGod’s claim that pro-EU was mainly funded by taxpayer’s money is still incorrect.

  13. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    We want the truth. On one hand Cameron is saying he wants to renegotiate with the EU whilst also saying that he doesn’t want the UK to leave the EU. We have seen all this before when Wilson did the same thing in 1975. Records prove that the people were intentionally deceived and lied to by politicians. Most of today’s politicians still seem to be following that instruction. The Common Market, the European Economic Community, the EU whatever they chose to call it, has always been about political union and the name changes illustrate the way in which this “political project” has progressed. The idea that Cameron is going to renegotiate and then call a referendum in 2018 is quite frankly incredible. It is just a way of postponing matters whilst pretending to give the impression that something is happening. Question Time, which I rarely watch these days, was illuminating last night. The one person who came across as clear, knowledgeable and genuine about EU related questions was Farage. The reason is quite simple, he articulates what he thinks and believes whilst others do not. Your woeful party chairman, Shapps, waffled as did Flint for Labour because they are trying to spin a position which has no true foundation. The contempt for the electorate isn’t surprising their masters in the EU never take any notice of referenda which doesn’t go their way. I think that support for UKIP will continue to increase despite Cameron’s efforts on behalf of your party to stem the flow. I repeat – I do not want to be governed by the EU and I want this country to trade with the whole of the world.

    • JimF
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Shapps muttering on about the fact that Romanians and Bulgarians can as easily move to France, Germany or Spain as the UK was claptrap, and that they can’t immediately claim benefits… as Farage said, they can claim benefits as being self-employed and without work.

  14. David Jarman
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Hence, not only one MP does not represent 50,000 (ish) people but 650 MP’s do not represent 60 million people. This is why this system that has not changed in hundreds of years needs to change. I’m sick of someone who doesn’t know me thinking they know what’s best for me. Technology now means I DONT NEED A REPRESENTATIVE who puts their interests ahead of the 50,000 people they are supposed to speak for.

  15. A.Sedgwick
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    The redoubtable Mr. Cash explained on the news that the approach should be a mandate referendum around the time of the 2014 European Parliamentary elections. What I continue to be bemused about is if as you say Cameron accepts that the UK cannot join the currency, fiscal, banking and political union and most genuine Eurosceptics want out of CAP, CFP, social and employment legislation and generally the non free trade elements of the single market – what is there left to renegotiate? Surely any negotiation would be about an orderly exit and a blueprint for our future as a non member and major customer for EU products.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Why wait until the summer of 2014 to hold that mandate referendum?

      What’s wrong with aiming to hold it this summer, or at the latest this autumn?

      If in the coming weeks Hague introduced a Bill ordering a referendum on whether we want to continue further with the process of “ever closer union” required by the present EU treaties, either the Labour and LibDem MPs would block it or they would not dare to block it, and in the latter case if the unelected House of Lords tried to block it then there would be time for the government to use the Parliament Acts to over-rule them and still have the referendum in the summer of 2014; on the other hand if the government delayed long enough before introducing the Bill then there might not be enough time left before the general election to by-pass the House of Lords, which has been systematically packed with EUphile peers (including EU pensioners) who need have no fear about elections and who could impose a delay of about 13 months.

  16. Chris
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    With regard to the Uk negotiating a different relationship with the EU, there is frequent reference in the media to Norway’s position (implying that to have an arrangement as Norway does with the EU is not beneficial to the UK). The article by R North on his website is very interesting as he seems to dispel this myth. He deals with the “globalisation of regulation” and emphasises the importance of Norway being in a position to influence organisations higher up in the hierarchy than the EU i.e. global organisations, and in turn able to influence the legislation that the EU formulates, precisely because of its different relationship with the EU and intervenes directly with the global organisation at the formative stage of policy being drawn up. He gives examples, such as with the Codex Alimentarius
    http://eureferendum.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/eu-politics-globalisation-of-regulation.html

    • uanime5
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      The writer of that article is naive.

      Various international organisations create basic rules because these rules have to be acceptable to developed and developing nations. So just because Norway can influence these organisation doesn’t mean that they’re creating EU law because the European Parliament is free to make EU rules that are more stringent.

      Also even in these international organisations the UK will be just one country that cannot force other countries to agree with them and can be outvoted, just like in the European Parliament. So the UK won’t magically gain the power to force other countries to make laws that only benefit the UK.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        You really do need to check up on the EU legislative processes.

        • uanime5
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

          Please explain to me just how Norway influences the EU legislative processes. Make sure to include examples of laws that Norway has directly influenced, especially when the majority of the EU was opposed to Norway’s position.

          • APL
            Posted January 20, 2013 at 10:45 am | Permalink

            uanime5: “Please explain to me …”

            That is all we seem to spend our time doing, uanime5. Explaining to you how things work – but you seem incapable of understanding. Thus even those of us most dedicated to the task recognize the utter uselessness of explaining anything to a mind that is utterly closed to new ideas.

      • uanime5
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        Also the CFP doesn’t apply to EFTA countries, so it doesn’t matter to Norway whether the EU follows its lead or not. Though given that discarding caught fish is illegal in Norway but legal in the EU it seems that Norway cannot force all its policies upon the EU.

        • APL
          Posted January 20, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

          uanime5: “Also the CFP doesn’t apply to EFTA countries .. ”

          Right ..

          uanime5: “Though given that discarding caught fish is illegal in Norway but legal in the EU .. ”

          Thus illustrating the burden the EU imposes in this instance on its own trawler fleet they have to discard part of the catch that is ‘over quota’. Potentially making their days at sea, less profitable than the non EU fleet.

          uanime5: “Norway cannot force all its policies upon the EU.”

          discarding caught fish is a uniquely EU phenomena, it is a matter of the quotas assigned to each nations fishing fleet – consequently doesn’t apply to Norway.

          Too, Norway has maintained its own national fishing rights in its territorial waters and conservation in these waters is not so much of a problem as it is in the EU areas.

  17. Roger Farmer
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    The crunch comes in your last paragraph. Labour and Lib/Dems like the totalitarian dictatorship that is being created in Europe and will never let democracy free in the form of a referendum. There never will be a referendum if it is scheduled for after the next election because there will be no conservative party in power. Those natural conservative voters will have drifted away to abstention or UKIP because anything less than a referendum before the next election will be seen as betrayal, or as Cameron getting what he truely believes in, an unspoken support for much the same as Lab/Lib/Dem cabal, totalitarianism. I believe that Cameron’s loyalties are to the unseen bankers and short term industrialists who pay better than the british people. What else can be the cause of his political myopia. If, as I suspect, he prevaricates, the conservative party must remove him from office for the simple reason of failing to represent the people he governs and of ensuring the demise of the party at the next election.

  18. Graham
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Your last paragraph says it all.

    The country is ready for an alternative to the 3 leading parties who want to keep us trapped in the EU undemo-block.

    Maybe if we are to be trapped then we should join Greece and Spain etc in taking our disatisfaction to the streets. I think that I am getting to the stage where I would go for that myself.

  19. Timaction
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood your last paragraph sums it up really about the lack of democracy and deceipt by all of THREE main parties. The ONLY reason Mr Cameron is now even talking about this is his potential electoral obliteration at the next election by UKIP. His feet are being held to the fire by his election prospects without change on the EU. This isn’t a new found conscience as he is an even worse proven europhile. He still dithers and blathers about the British peoples “heartbeat” and how its in the National interest to be in the EU. No we don’t, we want our freedom. He won’t debate this with Farage as he would loose hands down. I watched an ex Labour minister (Hodge) on Sky the other night stating the usual politics of fear. 3 million jobs at risk, no voice in the world, no influence, poorer etc. She was put in her place and her points easily refuted by a reporter on the panel. Her face was a picture. All arguments in favour can be easily refuted. The latest scare is loss of the arrest warrant, but to be fair that was from the LibDums. If we didn’t have free movement of criminals, we wouldn’t need it!
    We want to return to being an independent sovereign state with our own elected and accountable representitives. Mr Barrosso and Van Rumpy are just bad dreams that cost us an absolute fortune directly (£12 billion) and indirectly several £10′s of billions in lost jobs (fishing/immigration) and on costs (CAP/EU Regs/immigrant benefits and free public services). If Cameron could say and mean what Mr Farage says, he’d be onto a vote winner. He’s the only patriotic leader who would look after the English. Even Eric Pickles is in a lather about the impending and very unwanted arrival of millions of Romanians and Bulgarians next year. Blustering about future restrictions on benefits and locals getting priority on the housing lists. What about the International Health Service? Whilst Ministers dither GP’s are having to take their own action as the locals and my friends and family wait for treatment! Yeah right! This will lead to serious consequences as a lot of people are at the end of their tether, particularly those areas where there jobs and there childrens jobs are undercut by Eastern Europeans and then more Eastern Europeans and others in prospect before they go on benefits.

    Reply: Mr Cameron has changed policy on the EU to one of renegotiation both because the EU is seeking to move more rapdily towards a superstate and because many Conservative MPs stress this has to be done. It is nothing to do with UKIP, and of course is not supported by UKIP.

    • Duyfken
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Response to reply: That is a little disingenuous, JR, and I really wish you would give UKIP some credit for the progress which is (oh so slowly) being made to force Cameron to face down the EU, instead of being always disparaging about its efforts. Were it not for the arguments being put forward by all of the EUsceptics such as yourself and a number of others including Farage and his small team, and the subsequent drift of erstwhile Tory supporters to the only choice available – UKIP, then Cameron would not be going through the present contortions. For a Party with no MPs, and possibly no likelihood of getting into Westminster in the near future, UKIP has done remarkably well in getting its message to the electorate.

      It really is, as Timaction states, a case of deceit by all of the three largest Parties in the HoC.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      “It is nothing to do with UKIP”

      So if UKIP didn’t exist, or wasn’t significantly eating into support for his party and its candidates, Cameron would still be demanding renegotiation, repatriation of powers, and (allegedly) an end to the process of “ever closer union” mandated by the EU treaties?

      I don’t think so; in the first place, without the electoral threat posed by UKIP Cameron might not even have become Tory leader, and in the second place if he had become Tory leader it wouldn’t have been by falsely presenting himself as a strong eurosceptic.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      Very disingenuous John. Cameron would have never changed policy had it not been for the upsurge in UKIP support. I am amazed at your craven support for the man who is a liar and cheat.

      Reply: Mr Cameron has shifted policy thanks to the views and votes of over 100 Conservative MPs.

      • matthu
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        Reoly to JR: And why do you think 100 Conservatibe MPs are suddenly so ready to speak out?

        Reply Because we believe in our cause and have been speaking out and voting for it all Parliament. We get no help from UKIP!

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply,
          Just what help do you get from the other204 Conservative MPs who are in Parliament? Sorry, John, you can kid some of the people some of the time but you can’t kid all of the peolple all of the time!

        • James Matthews
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

          Unusuallly for you Mr Redwood, that respose looks deliberately blinkered. The Conservative eurosceptics may well believe in their cause, but to maintain that they have neither been emboldened, nor had their position within the Conservative Party strengthened, by the prospect of loss of substantial numbers of votes to UKIP (and thus loss of office) lacks credibility. They are, after all, humn beings and political human beings at that. Few people outside the Conservative Party, even party supporters, will believe that, in the absence of pressure from without, there would be nearly as much pressure from within.

          Reply There has been plenty of Eurosceptic pressure over the years from the Conservative party – from long before UKIP emerged. We fought Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam etc

          • matthu
            Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

            The real proof of the pudding will be the extent of the Conservative opposition to wind farms, solar subsidies and all the other renewable energy policy in the lead-up to the next election. There was mighty little opposition to the Climate Act last time around (our own host and Peter Lilley excepted, of course) and presumably our highly principled CP members will not be swayed this time around either … unless of course it becomes an electoral issue in which case they will form a voiew depending on how the wind is blowing. UKIP, of course, have long since establsihed that they oppose government policy on the this.

            Let’s see.

          • James Matthews
            Posted January 19, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

            Sorry Mr Redwood. There has been pressure from what was initially a small but dedicated group of Conservatives, but it can not be described as “plenty” because it has clearly not been enough. Until the the end of the Major government the Conservatives at Westminster were overwhelmingly Europhile. What began to change things was the Referendum Party and there can’t really be any serious doubt that pressure from UKIP has helped to continue that process. Of courset in many cases UKIP has been pushing at a door which is at least unlocked, if not open, but the prospect of electoral losses helps to stiffen the backbones of many. I wish that the threat of being outflanked by UKIP were not necessary, but we have waited far too long for the parliamentary Tory Party to act on its own (with of course notable and honourable exceptions).

      • zorro
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply – I think that it is more accurate to state that he fears the potential intentions of a sizeable part of his MPs….but I have no doubt that he fears the electoral impact of a sizeable vote for UKIP – or to put it more accurately that is what he has been told by a sizeable number of Tory MPs.

        zorro

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

          Well the Tories will be gone anyway in 2015 – even without UKIP.

    • Deborah
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      “Mr Cameron has changed policy on the EU to one of renegotiation.”
      Erm, isn’t that the policy he promised before the election, but has done nothing about until UKIP started making real headway in the polls?
      Frankly, John, it does not become you to make such poor excuses for Cameron and pretend the party leadership’s recent efforts have arisen because so many tory backbenchers have suddenly, all by themselves, decided to start putting more pressure on.
      It is plain to see that the increasing popularity of UKIP has put the fear of god into many tory MPs. Until now, those weak and self-interested individuals have been happy to sit on their backsides, ignore public discontent and treat you as a fool. Now they fear losing their seat and/or the next election and suddenly they want to talk about EU renegotation, in the hopes they can regain control of the situation.
      Without UKIP, none of this would be happening.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        I tend to agree except nothing of real substance is happening anyway.

    • JimF
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Oh Please!
      Cameron has changed his policy because he thinks (in a very Blairite PR way) that going half way will be enough for the people and won’t upset the horses in the EU and USA. What we need is somebody with “cojones”, not a smooth-as-grease-PR- friendly-nicey-nicey way of dealing on this issue.

  20. JoolsB
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    “What is extraordinary is the Labour and Lib Dem parties both rule out a renegotiation, and rule out a referendum. They say we must stay in at all costs, accept the current balance of powers, and avoid mentioning the fact that many UK people are not happy with our current membership”

    Totally agree John but you could equally apply this to the people of England being denied a referendum on whether they would like a taste of the same home rule enjoyed by the other nations of the UK, ie. their own parliament. Trouble is it’s not just Labour and the Lib Dems but shamefully the Tories also who say we must keep the status quo at all costs, accept the current balance of powers where 119 Celtic MPs can vote on England only matters when they bizarrely can’t vote on those same matters for their own constituents and avoid mentioning the fact that many people in England are unhappy with the current set-up, (in fact avoid mentioning the word England at any cost) ie. no voice, no recognition, no representation and no self-determination.

    So far Cameron and many of those (not all) calling themselves the Conservative Party are proving themselves every bit as pro-Europe and anti-English as Labour and the Lib Dems and they wonder why we are all turning to UKIP, the only party willing to address both these two great democratic deficits.

  21. waramess
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    It is not so surprising that Cameron wishes to kick the can into the next election in order to diffuse the UKIP threat.

    The question is, who will believe him given his record of twisting and turning whenever it suits him?

    Frankly there is no reason why they should not have a referendum now. It is so important that to delay it on the pretence that there is no time to organise it is a stupid assertion.

    Should Cameron go for a referendum before the election his chances of winning back suppport from UKIP would be far better than hoping his cast iron promises post election will be taken seriously.

    Perhaps he might consider a referendum prior to the election to canvass support for a renegotiation of terms with Brussels and an in out referendum after, in order to get the best of both worlds.

  22. A different Simon
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Also , it hasn’t gone completely unnoticed that Cameron has acquired a new war to fight in Mali .

    Since the media have been strangely quiet about this it would be much appreciated if you could cover it John .

  23. Bryan
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    According to the Daily Telegraph President Obama has ‘told’ Mr Cameron that the UK must remain in the EU – presumably because this is in the best interest of the USA. Was it not ever so?

    This Obama insistence is the best reason yet to leave the EU.

    But obviously not for son of Blair, Cameron

    • zorro
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Is it a veiled threat from our fellow ‘special relationship’ co-partner……? Let’s face it the US has plenty of form for interfering in the sovereign matters of other countries. I really can’t blame the Algerians not wanting to accept US/UK special forces in their territory….

      zorro

  24. Single Acts
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    You think the Lib Dems are a major party?

    I’ll have a small wager with anyone who cares to be that if they have any seats after 2015 it will be just a handful and total irrelevance.

    Not that your prospects (i.e. the tories) are much better with Mr Cameron at the helm. God help us, the empty of head and devoid of ideas or policy, Labour party could quite easily win again.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      I’ll have a small wager with anyone who cares to be that if they have any seats after 2015 it will be just a handful and total irrelevance.

      That describes the Lib Dems in every Government when they’re not in a coalition, so you’re probably going to be correct.

      I’ll also predict that the Lib Dems will split into a new party and the rest will merge with the Conservatives, just like the Liberal Party did during their coalitions with the Conservatives in early 20th century.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      Indeed Labour, who created the economic mess and have have absurd policies for the economy, energy, the EU, the political correctness agenda and much else, will indeed be back in 2015.

      It rather shows how dreadful and lacking in vision Cameron’s Tories are – they could not even beat Brown at the last sitting duck election. What chance have they now everyone knows that Cast Iron is a say one thing do another fraud?

      • Bazman
        Posted January 19, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        The Tories are in for a whitewash is my prediction. You probably think Labour should have listed to the banksters and the City more huh?

  25. Neil Craig
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    You are right that it is foolish of the LabLibs to oppose any renegotiation> particularly so for Mr Miliband who has painted himself into a corner.

    It is worth mentioning that while all 3 parties made manifesto promises of a referendum over Lisbon & broke them only the LibDems went double or quits making exactly the same promise in their manifesto for the last election.

    One can say with absolute certaionty that unle4ss the LibDems are wholly, completely and totally corrupt they must have joined the Tory rebels in their vote for a referendum and Messrs Vlegg & Cable must now be calling for such a referendum.

    Reply: No referendum was promised in the Conservative manifesto.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      To reply – One of the reasons Cameron lost.

  26. oldtimer
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I understand why he has to delay his speech until a more appropriate time. I add my sympathies and condolences to those families affected by events in Algeria. Parts of the Middle East and Africa have, for a long time, been potentially dangerous places for visitors or those working there. It goes with the territory; that does not make the realisation of those risks any less shocking.

    When you describe what you “expected Mr Cameron” to say, is that based on specific knowledge of the words written in the draft of his speech? Or is it just your assumption about what he would say? There is a difference in what what may be attributed to the word “expected”.

    It is obvious to those who like me voted “Yes” in the original referendum, that it was sold to the public as a free trade arrangement.

    The wider implications were not promoted or even raised. It has been abundantly clear now for several years that the UK is sliding into a relationship that more and more people are finding deeply unsatisfactory. For many the impact of sharply increased immigration on housing, schools, welfare and social services has been the trigger of that disatisfaction. Some are beginning to realise that the traditional remedy of voting Labour/Conservative out and and Labour/Conservative in no longer works as it used to. The leadership in both parties seemed to think and behave in similar ways re the EU and have surrendered large swathes of their powers to the EU and qmv. What is the point of Parliament and MPs in those circumstances?

    What passes for democracy in the EU parliament is a joke. The UK electorate can no longer throw out the party that governs it. My (Conservative) MEP cannot even be bothered to reply to legitimate questions. My local (Conservative) MP does respond. It is no surprise to me that UKIP is on the rise. Perhaps Mr Cameron is starting to smell the coffee. It seems that Clegg and Miliband still have their heads in the sand.

    The evolution of the EU is a direct threat to our democratic institutions – indeed it is close to having strangled all life out of them already. I have no doubt that the UK must repatriate powers from the UK – if not by renegotiation of present arrangement then by Parliament revoking the treaties by which it has bound itself. Do I trust the ruling politicians to deliver? Based on past broken promises, I do not.

  27. Freeborn John
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    The most important thing is that there is no mention on any referendum in these extracts, and certainly not one with an option to leave. Cameron is really Making me sick to the stomach with this. The referendum will be enormously important when it comes and if it is lost the UK will be stuck in the federal state with perhaps a token opt-out. That would be a historic disaster so Cameron cannot be allowed to stay as prime minister. Better a real referendum with a Tory leader campaigning for out in 2020 than possibly a sham referendum led by Cameron fighting for federalism in 2018-19-mañana-never-never. He has got to go and I hope the parliamentary party never elects another “eurosceptic” like him again because Cameron’s elevation to leader has clearly cost Eurosceptics 10 years delay and the great opportunity of the euro zone crisis to severe links with the EU state under construction.

  28. NickW
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Obama wants to see the UK and Europe continuing to remain a commercial failure in order that the American economy grows on the back of reduced global competition.

    Obama doesn’t care about the loss of democracy in Europe, it doesn’t affect him or American citizens, and he isn’t in the least bothered about what might happen when his second and final term of office is over.

    America’s interests and ours are not the same; Obama does not want either a prosperous UK or a prosperous Europe. The German economy is a particular target for the USA for obvious commercial reasons. Obama wants Europe to continue on its path of economic failure and decline.

  29. Liz
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Both Ed Milliband and Nick Clegg have deep European roots, both are socialists and neither has a true love of democracy – hence they love the EU model of imposed socialism and rule by bureaucrats

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      Indeed – they have learned nothing from history.

      • Bazman
        Posted January 19, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        How much have the Tories and there supporters in the City learned from the banking crash?

        • Edward
          Posted January 22, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

          Baz, remind me, didnt that happen under “save the world” Gordon and his gang?
          What the Tories have learnt is that bailing out Banks (especially RBS) who were bust and nationalising them at huge cost to us all was a very big mistake by the Labour party.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

            The labour party believed the banksters and the Tories have never not or ever will stop believing them as often they are one and the same.

  30. Electro-Kevin
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    I am with you, Mr Redwood that I would like to see Britain as part of Europe but not governed by it.

    If it is to be the latter (and I hope sincerely not) then I see no purpose in having two governments and two political classes running this country. Politicians often tell us of the need to strip down industry and outsource jobs in order to avoid waste and improve efficiencies. It is the way of the real world and its harsh realities.

    Presently our frontline services are seeing cuts in pay and jobs among ordinary workers. Police officers are being recruited to work for a salary which is £7k less than the dole cap. It is quite likely that these officers will find themselves arresting unemployed drunks who are ‘earning’ significantly more money than they are.

    Given that ‘outsourcing’ is what is proposed for our democracy oughtn’t significant economies made among our domestic political and civil servant classes in order to improve the debt/deficit situation in this country ?

    The lobby for complete European integration is likely to be far more widespread and vested than ever it was given the amount of time that has lapsed and the integration that has already taken place.

    What we seem to have at the moment is the pretence that we have home rule. When do we admit outright that we don’t ?

    • A different Simon
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Electro-Kevin ,

      The policeman will have the last laugh , not the unemployed person .

      I suppose it depends to an extent which Constabulary you join and how you assess the value of the benefits .

      For the Met if the pensions benefits are considered conservatively an additional 25% of pensionable pay , the starting salary of a Constable is more than dole cap of £35,000 and considerable more than the national average wage .

      Neil Record in his “Sir Humphrey’s Legacy” book assessed police pensions benefits for a policewoman as being UP TO the equivalent to an addition 69% on top of pay .

      Quote the Met site : “All Metropolitan police officers currently receive London weighting and allowances amounting to £6,501 on top of national police pay scales.

      If you are new to the role, this means:

      £28,605 on commencing service
      £31,176 on completion of initial 31 weeks’ training
      £32,610 after two years’ probationer training.
      …..
      Unless you choose to make your own arrangements, as a Metropolitan police officer you will automatically join the Police Pension Scheme, a fast accrual final salary pension scheme to which you will contribute 9.5% of your pensionable pay.”

      That is better than a starting wage as a software developer in London which will not attract paid overtime or pensions benefits and from there on in the gap will grow .

      My 48 year old mate who is a self employed car mechanic with overheads of over £750/month for premises and insurance and has invested tens of thousands of pounds in tools and equipment is barely making half the starting package the Met state for a police constable .

      Maybe I’m missing something but what seems to be the problem ? How much should the starting pay of a policeman be ?

      • Edward
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        Indeed AdS,
        And the most crucial of considerations…is there a shortage of recruits?

        • A different Simon
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

          Edward ,

          Not much fun knocking on doors telling the householders their loved ones are never going to come home again .

          I’m in favour of paying police well so there is no reason for them to supplement their wages through bribes and corruption .

          I just think there has to be some transparency with regards to pensions and that if the more senior state workers like policemen fully understood what they are paid they might be happier .

          As it is , it’s hardly surprising that senior state workers show little to no gratitude for i) guaranteeing their level of pension so that they don’t have to take any financial risk ii) being given a guaranteed return above inflation on notional investments which is multiple times higher than ordinary people can obtain for instance through index linked gilts .

          With respect to politicians and civil servants , they are crafting schemes for the masses that they will never have to use themselves . We can’t expect them to be effective legislators , regulators or planners when they treat themselves as a special case and have no skin in the game .

          • Bazman
            Posted January 19, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

            Police fully understand what they are paid. You can be sure of that. Those rich teas are not going to arrest themselves.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted January 19, 2013 at 1:17 am | Permalink

        Simon (and all)

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21027176

        Starting salary to be cut to £19k according to the BBC.

        In answer to Mr Redwood’s earlier post about second jobs I’d say doing this is preferable to being so strapped as to be tempted with bribes.

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 1:29 am | Permalink

          The main thrust of my comment was this and seems to have been missed :

          How long are we going to have to fund what is becoming a puppet government here whilst handing over ever more responsibility to Brussels ?

          We on the Right are all in agreement that cuts need to be made when something has outlived its purpose.

        • A different Simon
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

          I just think that people like public servants and the BBC who have access to such pension schemes should be more tactful by not neglecting to include the value of pensions benefits when quantifying pay .

          £24k is still better than many university graduates who have spent 3 years running up £30k of debt can hope for and there is no danger of having your job replaced by an ICT visa trainee . And it will go up .

          On the other hand I think that public sector workers should feel justifiably aggrieved that the Govt doesn’t compel private sector workers to put away money for their old age .

          Over reliance on vocational schemes and private pensions is a massive national mistake . Far better for some of the money which goes into those to be put into a national wealth fund to pay a livable primary state pension .

          It’s not the level of pay I have a problem with , it’s the lack of transparency inherent in defined benefits pension , deliberate understatement of the costs , Govt’s not adhering to accepted accountancy standards which means it gets pushed onto the next generation .

          You make a good point about bribery and I would not want police pay to be cut down to the level where it increased .

          However , we see other examples of bribery every day .

          - The EU pays MEP’s and civil servants over the odds to ensure their loyalty and persuade them to do abhorent things they wouldn’t otherwise do .

          - When I see British civil servants and public sector workers who are involved in the control of the populace (mainly police and BBC) getting paid over the odds I wonder what treachery and favours the political establishment is expecting in return .

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      However widespread “the lobby” for complete European integration may be, in the UK public support for it runs at about the 3% level.

      https://twitpic.com/bc8q30

      Whereas about 90% want no more EU integration than now, or less than now, including about a quarter who have concluded that the only answer is complete withdrawal from the EU.

  31. Atlas
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    It is difficult to be polite sometimes – especially when faced with Political Parties that are united in enslaving us to the EU.

    I see Obama thinks we should remain in the EU to suit his goals (what ever those are). Thank you Mr Obama for your thoughts, but No. I read about the American War of Independence which was, I believe, something to do with freedom of expression and self-determination? Clearly what the Founding Fathers thought was good for the USA is not good for us in the UK.

    I wonder what that noted Americanophile (and half American) Sir Winston Churchill would have said to all this? He was no push over.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      I do not think Sir Winston Churchill would have postponed his speech in response to a terrorist act.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted January 19, 2013 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

        Agreed.

        Kicked into the long grass again.

    • Robert Taggart
      Posted January 22, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Alas, Atlas, Blighty has been enslaved to the ‘Cowboy Country’ Corporate Cretinuity for nigh on ninety years.
      As for Winnie – as he said – if Britain must choose between Europe and the open sea – it must always choose the open sea.

  32. Winston Smith
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    David Cameron’s latest musings on Child Benefit:

    “Look. I’m not saying that taking away child benefit from people is easy. I don’t think people who earn £50000, £60000 are rich. You live in an expensive part of the country, you’ve got big costs to contend with, and you’re paying for the mortgage, you’re paying for the season ticket to get to work, you’re meeting all the costs of bringing up children, you know, life is very expensive. I don’t say people on £50000, £60000 are rich but they are clearly better off than people on £20000 or £30000. So as I say, I don’t relish taking money from anyone and, you know, child benefit is a popular and successful benefit. It goes to the mum, you know, it’s a good slug of money, £20 for the first child, so I don’t relish taking it away from anyone and people I’m sure put it to good use, but, you know, to govern is to choose. We have to make difficult choices about the deficit and I think this was the right choice.”

    Tony Blair, mark 2. Vote Conservative, get New Labour.

    • JimF
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. We have better places for money than you or your kids. Not Conservative, is it?

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      Indeed tax, borrow, print and waste then tax, fine and licence again. While delivering virtually nothing by way of real public services in return.

  33. Stephen Southworth
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    I do wish that a leader could emerge who could simply say :

    “We do not have a relationship with the EU – we are part and parcel of the EU : was are committed now and always will be under the treaties to an ever closer union. We recognise the economic benefits of the single market, but we also recognise the value of democracy and accountability. It is now time for the public to make their informed decision, following a no doubt vigourous debate in a referendum that I can now announce will take place in 6 months time. Having heard the arguments, it will then be for the people to decide whether to commit fully to the EU or to withdraw and frame new, co-operative but external relations with the EU. We have already established that a wholescale renegotiation of the treaties within the EU is not a realistic option : it would never be agreed by all member states.

    • Chris
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Very clearly stated. This is basically what Nigel Farage is offering, the big drawback being that unless Conservative MPs defect to UKIP, Cameron will not treat Farage or his ideas with the respect he/they deserve.

  34. Wilko
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    “The UK is our family home. Our landlord is in Brussels. He tells us that (word left out ed) the neighbours from two poor areas will be allowed to stay with us. Some of them want to (use our benefits system and our NHS-ed). We told our MP. He said so many laws are made each day to protect us, everything will be OK.

    Our EU landlord makes the law and demands 1% of our income in protection money. He makes billions extorting from us and others, but he is outside the law. Auditors tried to hold him to account, but he changes addresses twice every year, and so much of what he does is under cover. Yesterday I met a former mate from Pentonville. He said I (should deal with the landlord good and proper…ed)
    The above comparison is not novel, but the raw concept could become one. Commentators are invited, each to add a paragraph of their own, to develop the full gory story. With so much wrong with the EU, a War & Peace tome could be generated faster than the EU itself makes new regulations.

    Many of the UK population are not adequately aware of the way the EU restricts their personal freedom & makes them pay. Communication via such a novel may assist their understanding & spur them to act for improvement. Perhaps copies could be sold to fund the Campaign those is favour of changing the EU support. Might an EU grant be obtained to assist enterprise?

    • Wilko
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      The first 2 paragraphs of the 11.27am post above were entered within quote marks. Those words were, and intended to be understood as, an exaggerated piece of fiction, as would appear within a typical novel.

      The fictional quote’s purpose was to present the EU in an oblique perspective, comparing the UK relationship with the EU as if the EU were our landlord. The paragraphs within quotes were also spaced away from the remaining text below them to distinguish their context further.

      The editing has made changes which reveal misunderstanding of its purpose. The piece seems to have been re-written as if the fictional part had been intended to be portrayed as an actual experience, overstated & in need of moderation.

      Apologies if the way the post was presented did not make its specific purpose adequately clear.

  35. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    You are being far too generous to Cameron over the latest postponement of his great speech.

    Firstly, he should never have planned to give the speech to a foreign audience in a foreign country; if he had any respect for our national parliamentary democracy then he would have known that he should give it in the House of Commons.

    Secondly, however tragic the events in Algeria I don’t believe that anything is happening which requires his constant personal attention as Prime Minister; and if it does, how come he can take his eye off the ball for long enough to make a statement about it in the House of Commons?

    Thirdly, I read previously that his speech would probably be circulated to the governments of other EU countries some days before he gave it, no doubt so that it could be corrected and modified as Frau Merkel and others saw fit, and I read today that extracts had already been given to the press; as the “heir to Blair” I suppose we must expect him to perpetuate the bad practices of that person, who also had a contemptuous attitude to our Parliament.

  36. Chris
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Bernard Jenkin and Bill Cash have just published a paper “The single market: a postitive way forward” and there is a comment facility. The Europeanfoundation website looks interesting and there are regular email updates. “In sum, by taking a Eurorealist position on global economic and political developments, the European Foundation’s raison d’être has been: “yes to European trade, no to European government.” http://www.europeanfoundation.org/my_weblog/2013/
    However, I see that they both seem to support the free movement of labour, which presumably means that the whole issue of EU immigration is not addressed. Not satisfactory.

  37. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I read here:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2264254/Mr-Cameron-speech-was.html

    “Thus, we know that Mr Cameron was planning to reject one of the articles of faith held by the Euro elite: that member states – regardless of the wishes of their electorate – must embrace ‘ever closer union’.”

    It’s not just “one of the articles of faith held by the Euro elite”: it’s a solemn, and in fact the paramount, commitment made by all EU member states through the present EU treaties.

    And if it’s a question of whether the British electorate are for or against this, why not ask them directly in a referendum, and do that BEFORE attempting any renegotiation?

  38. APL
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    JR: “What is extraordinary is the Labour and Lib Dem parties both rule out a renegotiation .. ”

    Perhaps that is because there cannot either for practical or political reasons be a renegotiation.

    The idea of opening the treaties to give the UK ‘special treatment’ is anathema to any and all of the other members. Not least because it’d open the treaties to all the other competing claims too. The whole process would take years.

    But also, I grant you, those two parties are openly Europhillic – but the Conservative party – Eurosceptic? Pull the other one!

    The dwindling rank and file of paid up Tory party members may be pro UK independence, but the head’s of the hydra; David Cameron, Ken Clarke, Peter Mandleson, the family business Kinnock – they have seized control of the Party (and occupy strategic positions within the establishment).

    Consaquently the Party is unrelated to the rank and file.

  39. Martin Ryder
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I voted for the UK to stay a member the European Economic Community in 1975 because I could see that a continent wide market without artificial trade barriers made sense. I also thought that the EEC would tie European nations closer together. I must admit that I did not see the free movement of labour as an issue, though I do now.

    What I did NOT do was vote for a European Political Union, which is what we are likely to have within the next few years. In 1975 most politicians, including Heath, made a big issue of there being no transfer of sovereignty to the EEC. Though there was talk of sharing sovereignty, which is a totally different thing as sharing gives all parties the freedom to take their share back if they need to.

    My point is that it is the EEC, not the UK, which has changed – with the connivance of all the UK governments elected since 1975. It is no longer the organisation that I had voted for and I consider that all British nationals should be given the opportunity to look at the matter again before accepting, or not accepting, the final change to Political Union. People might vote for political union, as it would seem that they, like me, are fed up with our national politicians. If they do then I will be very unhappy about the future of my children and of my country but will have to accept the wishes of my compatriots.

    Mr Cameron should simply say that the European Union is moving to a totally new position; one which the majority of British nationals have not signed up for. When it is clear what the new position is, and how it would affect the UK, an In/Out referendum, that only British nationals can vote in, will be called so that the people’s wishes could be determined. The Referendum should be included as Item 1, in the Conservative Party Manifesto for the next election.

    • JimF
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      You really believe we’d fall for that trick again? Item 1 could still be ignored post-election.

  40. Gary
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    This is a welcome tacit admission that we need to negotiate a new relationship with the EU. If I have read this correctly.

    To be completely out of the EU would be a big mistake, and to accept without question what is currently on offer would also be a mistake.

    I firmly believe that the main advantages are a free trade area and a single currency. These are true free market ideals. The single currency will never be acceptable to those defending the BoE and the sovereign right to debase our own currency. I think that is very misguided and not in the long term interests of the country. At the very least , let us get the free trade membership sealed.

    We cannot be having 27 different tariffs , duties, standards and exchange rates in Europe in the 21st century.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      You also cannot have free trade with 27 different laws on working conditions, salaries, quality, and bailouts for failed companies. The free trade is far more complex than just selling goods, it also concerns how these goods are made.

      • Wonky Moral Compass
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

        Yes, you can. Do you really think the average consumer cares as long as the finished goods are of merchantable quality?

        • uanime5
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

          All the people who campaign against poor working conditions in developing countries do.

      • Chris Sheldrake
        Posted January 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        uanime5 : your naive and misguided comment is a perfect example of why the EU has failed and will continue to do so :

        Van Rumpy and Barrosso and MEPS waste millions of hours and lots of our taxes on developing ever tighter rules to strangle European businesses in order to achieve the impossible : a level playing field within the EU.

        Trouble is, those same businesses have to compete with the developing world operating without donning the single market straight jacket.

        Do you really think China and Vietnam are going to implement the Work Time Directive anytime soon ?

        • uanime5
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

          Wouldn’t higher working conditions be more onerous in former Communist countries, which more recently had poor working practices, than developed countries such as the UK?

          By applying sufficient levels of tariffs and quotas on good from China and Vietnam the EU can create a more level playing field.

          It’s impossible for any European country to complete with the costs of developing countries unless they have the same pay and working conditions as these developing countries.

          Finally as the Chinese become richer and more educated they will demand employee rights.

  41. dan
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Havent logged onto this blog for a few months. I’m surprised people still take JR seriously on the EU.

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      Dan , from a historical perspective can you really be serious in dismissing Euro doubts as unimportant. Where is the precedent?

  42. Roy Grainger
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    The LibDem position is curious given that an In/Out referendum was their official policy and in their last election manifesto. That policy looks like a cheap political tactic just to try to get a few votes for a party that never expected to be in power.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      “That policy looks like a cheap political tactic just to try to get a few votes for a party that never expected to be in power.”

      Is this not what all Libdem policies usually are.

  43. Bert Young
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    I am glad that you made mention of the Obama call to DC last night . When I heard of this on the radio I was absolutely incensed ; after I had simmered down I tried to think through what Obama wanted to achieve , and , if my reaction was typical , whether it succeeded . If our presence in the EU is so essential to US interests , why don’t they pay our contribution to soften the blow to us ? Mention has been made of the Declaration of Independence and the importance of this to the US way of life ; Obama can’t be that much of a fool not to see the significance of our declaration to the Brussels bureaucrats , so , what does lie behind his call ? I still detect German diplomatic intervention since they have most to lose if we obtain our objective .

    • JimF
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Yes maybe they should get back to being the colonials they once were. That would kinda suit us better actually.

    • sjb
      Posted January 19, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Bert wrote: If our presence in the EU is so essential to US interests , why don’t they pay our contribution to soften the blow to us ?

      The US paid their contribution in blood and treasure in WWI & WWII. They do not wish to do so for a third time, which is why US foreign policy – under both Democrats and Republicans – has consistently promoted closer european integration.

  44. Chris Sheldrake
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    For the first time ever in my experience the BBC broadcast a largely Eurosceptic program this morning : it was the Friday edition of the Daily Politics.

    They lined up quite a few MEPS from other countries including German and the Netherlands, almost of whom said yes, Europe would have to listen and respect the UK position and even take into account our public opinion ( now that’s a first ! ) and negotiate new terms. It was such a surprise it sounded unreal !

    As we all know, the truth is, they need our net contribution and trade imbalance far more than we need the spurious benefits of membership. At least these brave few MEPs were prepared to acknowledge the fact in public.

    Cameron knows he won’t get anywhere in renegotiations without the certainty that
    UK voters will have the ultimate say : Accept the Negotiated New Terms or Leave.

    The only thing Van Rumpy and Barosso really fear is an independently minded group of voters given an opportunity to express an opinion on their running of the EU. So far throughout the Euro crisis they have avoided one but hopefully they won’t be able to duck and dive for too much longer.

    After all, they must know that they won’t be able to order the Brits to go back and vote again until we get the “right answer”. We are made of far sterner stuff.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      The EU does not need the UK’s net contributions and can quite easily raise the cost through modest increases in the other member’s contributions.

      Nor do they need the trade imbalance, as the UK exports a far larger percentage of its goods to the EU than the EU exports to the UK. Also the trade deficit will remain even if the UK leaves the EU because the UK doesn’t manufacture goods that people want to buy.

      • Wonky Moral Compass
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

        Percentages? Show us the actual numbers, accountimg for the Rotterdam effect, and we might take you seriously.

        • uanime5
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

          Percentages are more useful than actual numbers because they show just how devastating the loss of trade will be on the UK. Pretending that big numbers equal more harm just shows that you don’t understand maths.

          No one has ever been able to calculate how large or small the Rotterdam effect is, or show that it even exists. Thus it’s impossible include it in any calculations.

      • Chris Sheldrake
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

        uanime5 : you conveniently chose to ignore the facts : are you aware that Britain is the second largest net contributor to the EU budget after Germany ? :

        According to the Office for National Statistics “Pink Book” the net cost of membership was £10.8Bn in 2008 and Daniel Hannan reports that in 2010 the UK net contribution increased by 74%.

        Hardly an insignificant amount to be raised from the other net contributors. Ask German voters if they are prepared to pick up the tab.

        Your carefully selected percentages for exports are ridiculous : of course the percentage of total EU exports from 26 countries coming to the UK will be far smaller than the percentage of UK exports going to the rest of the EU !

        The actual figures in money terms are very different : We have a massive deficit in traded goods, particularly with Germany.

        They are certainly not going to put that at risk by pushing us out of the single market.

        The fact is that our exports are declining with the EU because of the disaster area that is the Eurozone but they are increasing with the rest of the world.

        Would you rather place your economic faith in trading with an area of the world in decline or with the rapidly growing areas such as India Brazil and China ?

        Contrary to your view, other countries do like to buy our Triumph motorcycles, Range Rovers, Jaguars, Bentleys and Minis. I know all of these bar Triumph are sadly now foreign owned but they do provide british jobs.

        You may not like to hear it, but Britain is still the 5th largest economy in the world. Any thoughts that we could not go it alone if we really had to are ridiculous.

        We won’t have to, of course. An accommodation will be reached the only question will be whether the other members concede enough powers for Cameron to win a referendum to stay in on the revised terms.

        Personally, I hope the terms are good enough. If they are not, leaving the EU and joining Switzerland and Norway on the periphery does not frighten me.

        • uanime5
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

          Chris your problem is that you’ve ignored real figures in favour of sound bites.

          The EU’s total budget in 2008 was €129.1 billion (about £108.39 billion), so the UK’s net contribution was about 10% of the total. So if the UK left then by increasing the contributions of the other 26 members by 10% the EU would have the same budget. Given that currently each EU country contributes 1% of their GNI to the EU a 10% increase would raise their contributions to 1.1%, so they’ll be able to afford this without any problems.

          Also according to the Pink Book the cost of being in the EU in 2008 was £14,051 million, of which £4,785 million went to the EU institutions. I’m guessing you got the £10 billion figure by deducting the cost of EU institutions from the net cost.

          I used the figures for exports between the EU and the UK to show just how dependent the UK is on exporting products to the EU. Even if I posted the amount the UK exports to each EU country that fact remains that most of the UK’s exports are sent to the EU.

          You claim that Germany isn’t going to take a risk by pushing us out of the EU but fail to provide any reason for this. Germany can trade with countries outside the EU even if there is a huge trade deficit between them, so they won’t suffer a major loss if we leave.

          Only a mug would bet on India, China, and Brazil (which have no guarantee of becoming developing countries) than trade with the established developed countries. That’s why most Western companies are currently making most of their money in the USA and Europe, rather than the BRICS.

          You may not like to hear this but the UK has the 7th largest GDP (nominal) in the world, not the 5th, as we have been overtaken by Brazil and China. Of course when you compare GDP (nominal) by capita the UK is number 22. Also given that the global GDP (nominal) in 2011 was $70,201,920 million and the UK contributed $2,429,184 million (3.4%) it’s clear that the UK cannot go it alone. Being one of the largest economies doesn’t mean much when compared to the huge global economy.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29

          The other members of the EU will not to pamper the UK just because it is acting like a spoiled child, so the UK will never get special treatment. I doubt joining the EFTA would be a suitable alternative because it still involves obeying EU law.

    • Chris
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      What encouraging news!

  45. Brigham
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I was so incensed that I sent an email to the White House telling Obama to mind his own business. This arrogant man will take no noticed, but I felt much better.

  46. Paul
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    This speech by David Cameron is of no significance whatsoever. I don’t know why people keep talking about it. Nothing will happen and nothing will change. We know what he will say – a referendum in 2018 on a renegotiated EU deal. Nothing will be renegotiated and the referendum won’t happen anyway because the Conservatives do not have any chance of winning in 2015. The Fresh Start group of Conservative MPs are deluded – they want major powers brought back (which they know they cannot get) and want to remain in the EU after their agenda has inevitably failed to bring any powers back. John Redwood’s position is equally over complicated – a referendum now along the lines of “do you want the PM to try and repatriate powers?” and another one after on whether to accept it or not. What’s the point? Do you seriously think the British people might say no to bringing powers back to the UK? It is only MPs like John Baron, Douglas Carswell and Philip Davies who realise how simple it is – In/Out referendum now or nothing. Vote UKIP and let’s force this dreadful PM out and let’s get an equally dreadful one in 2015.

    Reply: We tried the referendum now and lost heavily in the Commonms. I am trying to find another way through given the Parliament people elected in 2010. UKIPers never seem to understand that or want to help.

  47. JimF
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    In 1975, part of the argument used by those of us who were for us joining was that once part of the EEC we would be instrumental in reforming the Common Market toward the Anglo Saxon way of thinking. This hasn’t happened because we are outnumbered by Latin and Germanic peoples. We are closer although not identical to the American way of doing finance, business, housing and culture.
    Looking at this now we have to be able to trade with the world on our own terms. The British mentality will never be as regimented as the Germans, as “manana” as the Spanish or Italians nor as politically calculating but financially naive as the French. Inasmuch as we have tried, we have failed to turn these cultures into the “shopkeeper” “home is my castle” mentality of the British. Now is the time to accept that although we have learned plenty about the other European cultures over the past 40 years, to actually be like them just isn’t us.
    We need to decide by referendum -soon- whether we wish to be part of a European Political System with laws made in Brussels, convert the Houses of Parliament into the talking shops which are the Scottish and Welsh assemblies, and throw in our lot OR regain our self-determination. To delay will as Nick Clegg says lead to lack of confidence through indecision.
    Once we have decided on our self-determination, have a 3 year notice period during which new trade treaties are signed, EU laws are either scrapped or kept by referenda of the British people.

  48. uanime5
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    As long as the UK is campaigning for special treatment from the EU the result will be failure, and no amount of referendums or negotiations will change this. Politicians have to accept that the price of being in the EU or EFTA is obeying EU law.

    I’d also like to thank Michael Meacher for highlighting the devastating effects of ATOS’ campaign against the disabled. It high time that the Government accepted that bullying the disabled isn’t going to make them able to work.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/atos-told-incontinent-woman-to-wear-nappy-8456447.html

    • JimF
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

      This is a pretty one-sided article. Do we just give up trying to get people into work? What is your solution? Leave them sitting at home for ever?

      • uanime5
        Posted January 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        There’s 450,000 jobs and 2.51 million unemployed able bodied people. If people with no health problems can’t get a job what chance do those with a disability have.

        The Government needs to accept that not everyone can be bullied into work and that sometimes people will remain at home forever.

  49. Posted January 18, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Mali is a relatively short hop to the Falkland Islands- it cuts the journey in half and is a cover for transport planes to visit the Southern Ocean from a continental base. Otherwise why would we be involved in Mali?

  50. Martin
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t the real problem with the EU is poor record of MEPs from the UK in not bothering to turn up?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/7881559/British-MEPs-have-worst-European-Parliament-attendance-record.html

    As the Daily Telegraph points out some UKIP types are the worst.

    Perhaps as a money saving measure the government should suggest to Brussels that MEPs who don’t show up (with out sickness note etc) should have their wages and allowances stopped.

  51. Tom William
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Any promise to renegotiate and hold a referendum AFTER the next election by Cameron will just not be believed.

    He has to go for it now and ignore the Libe Dems (who would be eliminated in any election if they refused to allow this).

    Don’t hold your breath

  52. Barbara
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Well Mr R, as usual your blog is informative and interesting. I thank you for giving us the ordinary people chance to voice their concerns and beliefs. You are correct it as now been decades since the original vote on the ‘Common Market’. I voted NO then and would so again. I see my first decision was correct, for we have not got what we were told at all. A free trade area between free states. It is becoming a farcical arrangement, and when we have the USA President interfering in our decision, it gets even more silly. I note with no rebuke from our PM.
    As for the speech, well a disappointment it not taking place but for all the right reasons. These islamists have to be taken head on without fear or hesitation, but I’m pleased to see another country taking the lead for a change. We have done enough.
    As for Mr Cameron’s speech, I feel it won’t contain what we are expecting or want, it will fall way short of that. Its the timing of the negociations that worries me, there is a plenty of time for us to know one way or another before the next election. If Cameron as his list ready, a simple vote from other members is all it would take; we could then hold a referendum in the last six months of this awful coalition. Clegg as broken his committment to boundary changes therefore the Conservatives are under no obligation to comply any further. At least it would be toward the end of the coalition, and lets face it you will all be out on the hustings during this time. Its an ideal time, and would assure a Conservative win. Left till after the election, and Conservatives don’t win, you leave us to the mercy of Lib Dems and Labour, and that would be a dreadful thing to do knowing their history from the past. Conservatives will never be forgiven if they allow this to happen. Its obvious all politicans must realise the electorate must make the final decsion, and settle it once and for all.

  53. Andyvan
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Get out of jail free card for Cameron. A good crisis at the right time saves another disastrous speech. Lucky for him.

  54. Gwen Tanner
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    I feel like we need to have a revolution to get us out of this mess! We keep hearing the same old arguments again and again on immigration, welfare state, state of the NHS, our judiciary and much more. We, the people of the UK, want an in/out referendum now not in two years time. Please sign peoplespledge.com and help this to happen faster….

    Reply I do support an early referendum and have voted for one in the Commons.

  55. Gwen Tanner
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    …if we get out now, Cameron has more chance of surviving the next election, if not, he might get thrown out sooner than 2015!

  56. cornishstu
    Posted January 19, 2013 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    I am getting fed up of hearing of renegotiation, it’s pie in the sky, there are only two realistic options in or out. If out then we can negotiate the best deal for the UK w.r.t trade and take back our sovereignty, if in then we put up and shut up and go with the flow, of ever closer political union.

  57. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted January 19, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Cameron had made arrangements to chair “Cobra” meetings from (the UK embassy?) in teh Hague about the hostage taking in Algeria. As I now read that the Obama – Cameron call took place one to two hours before Cameron canceled his trip to the Netherlands, I just have a small question mark, a hint of doubt even, if Cameron made his decision to cancel trip and speech completely independent from any American leaning on him about the content of his speech.

  58. Agincourt
    Posted January 20, 2013 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    IMHO the artificial delays over holding referendums in the UK about our EU membership is an assault on British democracy. There should be no more delays, beyond 2014 – either at the same time as the 2014 euro elections,or a bit later at the same time as Scotland’s referendum, but preferably before these, eg sometime later this year. The longer Cameron delays it the more likely he will have permanently alienated those Tories who are temporarily attracted by UKIP. But anyway, he needs the guidance the referendum gives for the negotiations he hopes to have with the EU & its members about re-patriating powers back to the UK.

    Mind you, there’s very little chance of success there. Better to be like Norway & Switzerland who, despite all the lies about ‘fax democracy’ have much greater powers to design EU & international laws now than individual EU member states do now. If Britain leaves the EU & reverts back to the EEA or EFTA, it will be designing laws along side other non-EU nations at the UN & its subsidiaries’ levels, so designing the EU’s laws while fortunately being outside the EU. Norway & Switzerland have MORE power than EU members over international legislation, which they in concert design, while EU members receive them ‘by fax’ (as the out-dated expression goes), after the EU meekly receives them & adds nothing more to them than the EU’s name – & so claiming to be the originators of such EU regulations when in fact it is non-EU members who are, including Norway & Switzerland. Quite clearly then Better Off Out is the only sane policy for the UK (& probably for ALL EU members, not just Britain). When? Today!

  59. Agincourt
    Posted January 20, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    John, I don’t know if you have seen Christopher Brooker’s recent Telegraph article refuting the suggestion that Norway’s so-called ‘fax democracy’ relationship with the EU is something for Britain to fear. It’s called “Norway’s ‘fax democracy’ is nothing for Britain to fear” – see: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/9813101/Norways-fax-democracy-is-nothing-for-Britain-to-fear.html
    As Brooker says: ‘Norway has more than once played a leading role in shaping rules which the EU members then have to obey. The EU countries are in fact more subject to “fax democracy” than Norway is.’ So instead of losing power over EU rules by leaving the EU, Britain would gain much more power over those EU rules it had to accept (after leaving the EU) than the remaining EU members would have. So, as far as EU regulations are concerned, the EU would be hoist on its own petard by Britain leaving – rather than the other way round. Nice one, I say!

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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